News Release

U of M addressing challenging national trends in transfer student enrollment

An aerial shot shows approximately 6,700 first year students standing together on the Huntington Bank Stadium football field, forming the Block M logo that represents the U of M

Approximately 30% of U of M undergraduates are transfer students, but University leaders emphasize that continued focus and investment on attracting, retaining and graduating transfer students is essential as the number of newly admitted transfers systemwide has continued to decline in recent years. This decline in transfer students is a national challenge in higher education as the enrollment from transfer pipelines, especially from community colleges, has been dropping.

Vice Provost and Dean of Undergraduate Education Robert McMaster will detail transfer student enrollment patterns for the Board of Regents Mission Fulfillment Committee next week. They will outline multiple challenges affecting transfer student enrollment — at the U of M and beyond — as well as initiatives designed to address those challenges and provide the support needed to ensure transfer student success.

While overall systemwide enrollment has increased, the percentage of students who transfer into the University is declining. The University’s systemwide strategic plan, MPact 2025, outlines the University’s commitment to student success, and work in this area has engaged students and staff across all five University campuses.

This work has also been informed by the Transfer Student Strategic Plan. Built with extensive student and staff input, the plan outlines six priorities for supporting and enhancing the transfer student experience. Three have continually emerged as the most critical to transfer students: increasing financial support and education from recruitment through graduation, developing clear major pathways, and improving the course enrollment process and course access for incoming transfer students.

Each U of M campus has a devoted transfer student strategic plan as a component of their undergraduate enrollment strategies. Thursday’s presentation will highlight initiatives from these plans and examples of programs, resources and experiences designed to address these challenges. 

Recognizing that nearly half of all incoming transfer students come from Minnesota State institutions, leaders across the University and Minnesota State systems maintain regular communication to discuss student pathways. While finding opportunities to simplify credit transfer and other areas of the transfer experience specific to Minnesota State, the University has also utilized the Transfer Evaluation System since 2018 to streamline the review of more than 82,000 courses for prospective transfer students. 

The Board regularly discusses enrollment strategies, including a conversation about systemwide undergraduate enrollment in June 2022. A series of subsequent presentations by the University’s five campuses to discuss progress toward MPact 2025 enrollment goals will conclude with presentations from the Rochester and Twin Cities campuses as part of Thursday’s Committee meeting.

Also during its February meetings, the Board is expected to:

  • Review and act on a letter of intent related to a new rural health academic partnership with CentraCare, following a previous discussion with Jakub Tolar, dean of the U of M Medical School and vice president for clinical affairs.
  • Act on the collective bargaining agreement covering Law Enforcement Labor Services, Inc (LELS).
  • Act on President Joan Gabel’s Recommended 2023 State Capital Request.
  • Discuss the framework for the FY2024 annual operating budget with Julie Tonneson, vice president and budget director for University finance and operations.
  • Act on potential enhancements to the Board’s public engagement approach, which follows a series of committee discussions on the topic.
  • Discuss systemwide public safety planning.
  • Act on the University’s annual performance and accountability report.
  • Act on proposed real estate transactions, including the sale of 2050 Roselawn Avenue West, Falcon Heights, and the purchase of 80 acres in Mower County.
  • Discuss the University’s MPact Health Care Innovation vision with Tolar and Senior Vice President for Finance and Operations Myron Frans.

For more information, including future meeting times, visit

Media Contacts

Jake Ricker

University Public Relations